Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut is a unique voice in the American canon—a writer whose works are hard to categorize, often straddling the space between literature and science fiction, and filled with cutting satire and dark humor. Like Mark Twain before him, Vonnegut's reputation and impact on American writing and reading will continue to grow steadily and increase in relevance as new insights are made.

Vonnegut was born in 1922 in Indianapolis, and studied at the University of Chicago and the University of Tennessee. In the Second World War, he became a German prisoner of war and was present during the bombing of Dresden. This experience provided inspiration for his most successful and influential novel, Slaughterhouse-Five. Vonnegut—admired as much for his views and his "Vonnegutisms" as for his publications—wrote extensively in many forms, including novels, short stories, essays, plays, articles, speeches, and correspondence, some of which was published posthumously.

A lifelong friend of Kurt Vonnegut’s, Dan Wakefield both edited and wrote the Introduction to the bestselling collection of Vonnegut's personal correspondence, Kurt Vonnegut: Letters. In addition, Wakefield is the author of the memoir New York in the Fifties, which was made into a documentary film, as well as Returning: A Spiritual Journey. He created the NBC prime time series "James at Fifteen" and wrote the script for the movie based on his novel Going All The Way, starring Ben Affleck.

Featured Books By Author

Sun Moon Star

Sun Moon Star is the story of the birth of Jesus--as told by Kurt Vonnegut. This children's book takes the newborn Jesus' perspective, offering beautiful and insightful descriptions of the world from someone newly born into it. In this book, we follow Jesus and meet the people most important to his life--presented in new and surprising ways.
A powerful departure from Vonnegut's more adult work, Sun Moon Star gives readers a rare glimpse of the writer's talent in a format that's unique and unexpected. This book's well-crafted simplicity is sure to make it a favorite--with both children and adult readers who are Vonnegut fans.

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If This Isn't Nice What Is? (Much) Expanded Second Edition

"Like his literary ancestor Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut’s crankiness is good-humored and sharp-witted."
—A.O. Scott in The New York Times Book Review

Master storyteller and satirist Kurt Vonnegut was one of the most in-demand commencement speakers of his time. For each occasion, Vonnegut's words were unfailingly unique, insightful, and witty, and they stayed with audience members long after graduation.

This expanded second edition includes more than sixty pages of further thoughts from Kurt (whose good advice wasn’t limited to graduation speeches).

As edited by Dan Wakefield, this book reads like a narrative in the unique voice that made Vonnegut a hero to readers of all ages. At times hilarious, razor-sharp, freewheeling, and deeply serious, these reflections are ideal for anyone undergoing what Vonnegut would call their "long-delayed puberty ceremony"—marking the passage from student to full-time adult.

This book makes the perfect gift for people on the precipice of change/growth—from high school students to college graduates—or for anyone who will appreciate Vonnegut’s playful, profound wisdom.

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Pity the Reader

The art and craft of writing by one of the few grandmasters of American literature, a bonanza for writers and readers written by Kurt Vonnegut's former student.

Here is an entirely new side of Kurt Vonnegut, Vonnegut as a teacher of writing. Of course he's given us glimpses before, with aphorisms and short essays and articles and in his speeches. But never before has an entire book been devoted to Kurt Vonnegut the teacher. Here is pretty much everything Vonnegut ever said or wrote having to do with the writing art and craft, altogether a healing, a nourishing expedition. McConnell has outfitted us for the journey, and in these 37 chapters covers the waterfront of how one American writer brought himself to the pinnacle of the writing art, and we can all benefit as a result.


Kurt Vonnegut was one of the few grandmasters of American literature, whose novels continue to influence new generations about the ways in which our imaginations can help us to live. Few aspects of his contribution have not been plumbed--fourteen novels, collections of his speeches, his essays, his letters, his plays--so this fresh view of him, written by a former student, is a bonanza for writers and readers and Vonnegut fans everywhere.

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Kurt Vonnegut